Coming off a winless campaign in UAAP Season 78, the DLSU Green Tennisters entered this season looking for redemption and acclaim. Though they were not able to bring home the trophy, the team was still able to finish at a very respectable third place, only behind the UE Red Warriors and UST Growling Tigers. In the middle of all this success was the trio of Kyle Parpan, Betto Orendain, and rookie Marraphael Teng. The three, however, are no strangers to bringing glory to the Green-and-White as they have been donning the colors since their days at La Salle Green Hills (LSGH).
While known more for the likes of Thomas Torres, Prince Rivero, and Ricci Rivero, who have all gone on to represent DLSU as Green Archers, LSGH has also produced multiple talented athletes who continued to represent the Green-and-White in the collegiate level. With teams such as the Green Batters and the Green Jins also boasting multiple LSGH graduates, the school’s influence on DLSU sports is evident in multiple places. One could argue, though, that this impact is nowhere more profound than it is on the La Salle tennis team.
As the trio reflected back at their times as high school students, all three had fond memories of LSGH. For them, it only makes sense that the school is able to produce a multitude of excellent athletes. Teng explained, “Our Alma Mater has always given us the support and motivation that we need in order for us to perform well.” For the sophomore Orendain, though, what makes the school stand out is its priority on things outside the court, as well. “Aside from the athletic program, they always told us not only to be athletes, but student athletes. That discipline really helped me on and off the court,” he said.
Additionally, they all praised their high school coach, Dino Malonzo, for helping all of them become the players they are today. “Our coaches always made sure to look after us,” Parpan said. Following that, he continued to say, “In turn, the institution takes care of our coaches, which translates to an overall great environment that is conducive to producing exceptional student-athletes.”
Though many Green Hills athletes do continue on to Taft Avenue, there are still some who decide to go elsewhere for their studies. For these three, however, the decision was simple. Parpan said, “Ever since grade school [where] I got to watch the hype of the UAAP, I’ve always wanted to wear a La Salle [jersey] and represent the Green-and-White. So when I was in my last year at GH, it wasn’t that hard of a decision to continue being a Lasallian.”
Teng echoed the sentiment. “I always [wanted] to continue my Lasallian education because my loyalty stays with the La Salle community and I love representing my school during competitions.”
For the two younger Green Tennisters, the choice was made even simpler with Parpan already in the fold as team captain. “It was a factor because I knew Kyle and the fact that he was a leader on the team played a big influence on me,” Orendain explained.
Having just finished his second season as team captain, Parpan’s leadership played a big role in the team’s jump back into contention in Season 79. In his eyes, the team’s motivation begins with what he shows them. “As a captain, I had to show my teammates that I was pushing myself and making sure that I had extra training to be a good example for them,” he explained.
When asked to describe his captain, Orendain could only chuckle as he explained how Parpan was not like most leaders. He said, “Kyle is not exactly what you’d think a captain would be. You’d think captains are the ones that are loud and say a lot, but he takes more of a one-on-one approach, which I think works well for our team.”
Describing his role as the stabilizer of the team, DLSU’s captain looks back at his time as team captain of the LSGH Tennis Team as vital to his success now. Those three years in high school proved to be invaluable years later. Parpan said, “It’s not uncharted territory anymore because I’ve had practice leading back in high school. The Lasallian core values also helped me as they were what I used and still continue to use as my pillars as I deal with not just being a captain, but also as a student athlete.”
Aside from the core values, Orendain, who finished with a 7-3 individual win-loss standing this past season, believes that LSGH instilled in him a mindset that still helps him to this day. “LSGH taught me to be balanced, like not only focusing on one thing, but how to balance everything, academic-wise, sports-wise, and social-wise.”
With their much improved success this year, things should only continue to improve as the team looks forward to next season. One lingering question, though, is whether Parpan, who has already finished four years, will come back for his fifth and final playing year. He explained, “The years have gone by quick and while there’s more to worry about here in my sport and the team, there’s also so much more to explore outside of it.” Continuing, he said, “A lot of factors have to be taken into consideration before making the final decision, and since our season just recently concluded, and there is reasonably ample time to decide, I’m just going to take my time.”
One thing is for certain, though–the Green Tennisters will be back next season, hungrier for more, with only one goal in mind: a championship. It is safe to say that with either two or three of these players on next year’s squad, that goal could very much come to fruition.